When it comes to shopping for jewelry, responsible practices matter, especially given the horrendous ethical and environmental concerns in jewelry production. From mining practices that pollute and take advantage of impoverished populations to processing methods laden with dangerous chemicals, most jewelry is still produced irresponsibly. And, while many companies would like to help change this, tracing materials back to their origins can be challenging, making it difficult for many jewelry producers to fully commit to ethical practices. Nonetheless, some companies are doing a better job at ensuring sustainable and socially conscious production. Here are some of the best ethical jewelry brands to shop online thanks to their transparency and commitment to using recyclable and traceable materials.
Brilliant Earth is an industry leader in creating transparency around the production of its jewelry. With a 61-page sustainability report available online, customers can delve into Brilliant Earth’s commitment to sustainability and ethical production—which extends into supporting a BIPOC-inclusive workforce. In 2021-2022, over 90% of the silver and gold used to manufacture the company’s jewelry came from recycled sources and diamonds and gemstones were sourced with transparency from ethical and environmentally-conscious origins.
Brilliant Earth also has a commitment to carbon neutrality and is partnered with a variety of social causes around the world, including Pure Earth to support mercury-free mining and restore rain forests. Even though the sustainability report speaks for itself in establishing Brilliant Earth at the forefront of ethical jewelry production, the company strives to refine and improve all of its practices over time with transparent goals for the future.
Starling was started in 2016 with a vision of sustainability and ethical production. Handmade in Los Angeles, the jewelry is made ethically by skilled artisans paid living wages. Materials are sourced sustainably with 100% of its yellow gold and silver derived from post-consumer recycled metal with third party SCS Certification to back up this claim. Starling is also working to source its diamonds as 100% post-consumer recycled — currently, about half of the diamonds used in each piece are recycled. And, as a bonus to consumers, Starling’s direct-to-consumer model helps to keep prices affordable.
Monica Vinader is another jewelry brand with great transparency. The company features a transparency link on its website with information about traceability and sustainability, including multiple certifications and a full sustainability report. Fifty of the brand’s bestselling styles even have blockchain traceability enabling customers to trace their pieces through each step of production. To top it all off, the gold and silver used in Monica Vinader’s jewelry is 100% recycled and the company also encourages customers to recycle jewelry through its recycling program at the end of use for fully circular jewelry consumption.
Focused on creating demi-fine jewelry that’s both modern and well-made, Wolf Circus offers stylish pieces made from fine materials that have been sustainably and ethically produced. The pieces are handcrafted in Vancouver, Canada from recycled metals, farmed fresh-water pearls, and lab-created gemstones. And, unlike many other jewelry brands, Wolf Circus creates unisex pieces.